Hundreds flock to beach as businesses begin to reopen

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the first phase of Governor Abbott's plan for Texas to reopen, Galveston beaches are seeing 'summer-like' crowds.

Saturday morning, beach umbrellas and chairs lined Stewart Beach in Galveston.

"We've got everybody here it seems like," said the chief of Galveston Island Beach Patrol Peter Davis. "The seawall is already getting close to bumper to bumper. The beaches are really pretty full."

Chief Davis said beach patrol, fire, EMS and police were busy all day responding to calls as more and more people started filling up the beaches for Cinco De Mayo weekend.

"It's really great to see these family and kids and everybody out here," Davis said. "I'm hoping that people will be socially responsible and social distance and wear the mask. You know, do the things that protect each other even if you're not in a high-risk population."

George Engelmann traveled with his family from Spring. He said he felt safe going to the beach.

"When we were in the water, there was lots of room for everybody out there," Engelmann said.

On The Strand, local businesses reopened Friday. Carrie Adkins, the owner of Salty Southern Chic said her shop was only open for two weeks before the stay-at-home orders were put in place. Now, she's hopeful that the traffic from Galveston beaches reopening, will bring new customers to her shop.

"There's been a lot of people out and about getting the fresh air," Adkins said. "It's beautiful weather, so that helps."

Several shops had signs that required customers to wear masks before entering and only allowing 10-12 people in at a time. While others did not have recommendations or requirements.

"All of our employees we're wearing masks and we're encouraging customers to wear masks as well," Adkins said. "Sanitizing pens after each use and wiping everything down."
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